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Our cosmos is merging with ‘baby universes’, causing it to expand, new hypothetical study suggests

The universe is expanding at an ever-accelerating rate, some but not all scientists are in agreement that dark energy is the cause. Maybe, instead, our universe keeps bumping with and absorbing smaller ‘baby universes,’ a new hypothetical study suggests.

Our universe is expanding and rate of expansion is going up — a phenomenon that every theory of cosmology agrees upon but none is able to explain fully. Now, a novel theoretical study offers an intriguing explanation: Possibly our universe is expanding because it keeps bumping with and absorbing “baby” parallel universes.

Studies of the CMB (cosmic microwave background), the afterglow of the Big Bang, have shown that our universe is undergoing accelerated expansion. For this observation to be in consonance with  the chief theory of cosmic evolution — called the Standard Cosmological Model — many physicists assume that the cosmos is packed with an enigmatic substance dubbed dark energy that drives the expansion.

But this obscure form of energy does not manifest itself in any other way, compelling many astrophysicists to question its existence and explore the prospect of an alternative cause for the universe’s expansion.

In a novel study published on 12th December, 2023, in the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, scientists proposed the notion that the expansion of the universe may be driven instead by our universe constantly merging with other universes. “The main finding of our work is that the accelerated expansion of our universe, caused by the mysterious dark energy, might have a simple intuitive explanation, the merging with so-called baby universes, and that a model for this might fit the data better than the standard cosmological model,” lead study author Jan Ambjørn (a physicist at the Copenhagen University), told LiveScience in an email.

Swallowing cosmic ‘babies’

While the very idea of multiple universes interacting with ours is not new, this particular study develops a mathematical model to explore the conjectural impact of this on the evolution of our universe. The scientists’ calculations showed that merging with other universes should cause increase in the volume of our universe, which could be perceived by our instruments as an expansion of the cosmos. The scientists even computed the rate of expansion of the cosmos using their theory, and their calculations far closely fit with observations of the universe than the customary Standard Cosmological Model, the researchers informed.

According to this new theory, super-rapid early expansion of our cosmos would have been due to absorption of our young universe by a bigger universe. “The fact that the Universe has expanded … in a very short time, invites the suggestion that this expansion was caused by a collision with a larger universe, [that is] it was really our Universe which was absorbed in another ‘parent’ universe,” the researchers stated in their paper. “Since we have presently no detailed description of the absorption process, it is difficult to judge if such a scenario could take place in a way that would actually solve the problems inflation was designed to solve, but one interesting aspect of such a scenario is that there is no need for an inflaton field.”

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